Jun 29, 2010 9:54 PM by Chris Welty
GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) - Realty companies and hotels on
Alabama's oil-stricken coast were hit with another wave of
cancellations and lost business Tuesday after the free beachfront
Jimmy Buffett concert was postponed because of the threat of
Tropical Storm Alex.
With coastal tourism business already off by about half because
of the huge BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, promoters had
planned the show for Thursday night in hopes of boosting crowds
around the July Fourth holiday. The plan was to use a live concert
telecast on CMT to show the state's beaches were open for business.
But phones at front desks and reservation offices began ringing
almost immediately after organizers announced the show was being
delayed until July 11. The delay was caused by the possibility that
heavy surf from Alex could undermine the stage on the beach,
creating a safety hazard. Some 35,000 free tickets already had been
Workers said they were swamped with calls at Meyer Real Estate,
a major rental management company in the region, and two large
hotels on the beach. Brett Robinson realty, with about 2,000
condominiums in the area, waived cancellation penalties for anyone
who bought its concert package and didn't want to reschedule.
Kaiser Realty, another large company for beach rentals, said
customers were either moving their reservations to July 11 or
keeping them for the holiday weekend.
"We have had very few complete cancellations due to the concert
change," said Emily Gonzalez, marketing director at Kaiser. The
company offered a special that included two tickets to the show and
a 25 percent discount on a condominium for the weekend.
Diane and Jerry McCreary decided they'd had enough of the coast
after learning the concert was off. The couple, from Baldwyn,
Miss., thought about extend their monthlong stay at an RV park but
decided against it.
"We're going home tomorrow," said Diane McCreary, sitting in a
chair on the nearly deserted public beach at Gulf Shores as tar
balls rolled in with the surf. "Every day we have to move a little
further away from the water because of the oil."
Buffett and music stars including Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown
planned the free concert to help support a region struggling
because of the BP PLC oil spill. Crude oil and tar balls have
washed ashore at Gulf Shores and other Alabama beach resorts for
weeks, hurting business during the summer tourist season.
Mayor Robert Craft said he was disappointed with the
"But Jimmy Buffett is still coming to the Gulf Coast on July
11, and tickets will be honored at that time," Craft said.
CMT said it was considering whether it could air the concert on
the new date. Organizers didn't immediately announce a new lineup